It seems that today so many people want to hit the jackpot or win the lottery, or win the next hand of poker looking for a way to make big bucks fast.
But there is an old adage that says, “Easy come – easy go” While some states have legalized gambling in casinos; that is not the only way that people gamble that is detrimental to their families.
In the beginning, it seems quite innocent. After all you are standing there waiting to pay for your high priced gasoline and you see the ad for the next big lottery or lotto game worth millions of dollars and you think, “Oh, why not it is only a dollar!”
But many cannot stop at a dollar and their eyes grow wider and their dreams grow bigger of quitting their mundane jobs in search of a high rolling, jackpot win, that will put them on easy street for the rest of their lives. And before you know it, an addiction/compulsion is born. And today with online gambling, it is handily right there in your home. And since you do not need to put the money on the table, it does not seem like money until the credit cards and disaster comes rolling in.
One thing gamblers fail to remember is that in order for one person to win, thousands have to lose; and that no gambling place or lottery is designed to lose money. A lot of people can gamble a little and decide how much they are willing to lose – just for the fun of playing. They think it is just like going to a dinner and movie as long as you can stop at you limit.
That is the problem with compulsive, addicted gamblers – they don’t stop at their limit and will risk everything for the next throw of the dice; or the next flip of a card – or the next turn of the lotto cage. Many states have sought to solve their education problems by offering the lottery as a means to increase their revenue only to find that after a few years – it has not been the boom to education and scholarships as they thought.
Gambling thrives among the poor as well as the rich. You think of the rich standing around in their ball gowns and tuxedos and gaily engaging in the “games!” But there are little old housewives hunched over a slot machine, or pinball machines in a back road country store somewhere gambling away the grocery money.
Gambling can be like the old potato chip commercial, “You can’t stop with just one!” Gambling has been around a long time; and in the days of the Old West, there was gun play and killings over a game of cards. Today gambling is a little more subtle – it takes from the family and kills it bit by bit.
The National Council on Problem Gambling has a 24-Hour Confidential Hot Line for those who are so entrapped and wish to be free of their additions much like those addicted to alcohol or drugs; or even porn.
According to their website, problem gambling affects the family of a gambler in a number of detrimental ways. A gambler can lose more than just his money; but the trust of his/her family.
No one intends to lose; but when they do, they are desperate to win back what they have lost and continue to lose even more. It is a compulsion that drives them deeper into debt and further away from those who love them.
According to The National Council on Problem Gambling they lose:
“Trust is often the first casualty in the family of the problem gambler.Change in the behavior of the family member is often attributed to many other possible problems before gambling is identified as the problem.”
“Respect for the problem gambler is generally lost once this problem have been identified. “Why can’t you just stop so the problem will go away?” “You can fix this!” When the gambler can’t, respect for them is lost.”
“Relationships are built on trust and respect. Without these, family relationships will be weakened or destroyed.”
“Family Dynamic is dependent on each family member meeting the needs of the others. Problem gambling can destroy the ability of the gambler do this.”
“Employment can be affected in various ways. The gambler will often neglect responsibilities at work and/or develop an attendance problem as they begin to have less control over their need to gamble. In the worst situation, the gambler will steal from their employer in order to continue their gambling. Any of this can lead to loss of employment and prosecution.”
“Financial security for the family is often lost as the gambler seeks more and more resources with which to gamble. All of the family’s financial resources may be liquidated without their knowledge. Savings, home equity, retirement accounts, children’s savings, etc may all be lost or damaged.”
“Reputations are difficult to protect as the gambling problem affects more and more aspects of the gambler’s life and become known by individuals outside of the family.”
What can result:
“Stress is a certain occurrence for all of the family members of the gambler.”
“Isolation between the gambler and their family generally occurs as their behavior changes.”
“Neglect of dependents occurs as the gambler losses more and more control of their behavior.”
“Distrust occurs between other family members as the extent of the problem and the extent of financial loss and the ramifications of this become known.”
Other Family Issues:
“Children of problem gamblers have a higher probability of developing a gambling problem than those with parents who do not gamble. This follows the pattern as experienced by children of those affected by substance and domestic violence.”
Any addiction is hard to control. The first decision is that you know you are a compulsive gambler and that you are destroying your own life and the lives of those around you who love you; but feel they are helpless to do anything to help you.
After you admit your problem and decide to do something about it – seek help. Seek Divine guidance through prayer, meditation, and scripture. Seek the help of a minister, counselor, or professional organization such as Gamblers Anonymous.
Hold a mirror before your face every day and say to the man/woman in the mirror – you’ve got a problem; and you are the only one who can make it go away. Take responsibility for your past; and work on your present to emerge into a happy future – a gambling-free life.
Gamblers Anonymous has a website that can help you ask other questions of yourself; and then help you to find answers.
The easiest habit in the world to break is one that you never begin. But for those of you who have met the enemy and like Pogo says,” We have met the enemy; and the enemy is us,” there is a new day dawning – and you can do it.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11